ABC's 'Roseanne' to Tackle Trump Era in Sitcom Revival
At Banff, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey says she isn't certain Roseanne Barr will name the U.S. president, but "she's going to speak very honestly."
Expect comedian Roseanne Barr to tackle Donald Trump and the current reality of ordinary Americans when a revival of her popular family sitcom debuts on ABC mid-season.
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey says she isn't certain Barr will personally identify the U.S. president. "I don't know whether Roseanne will speak about Trump by name. But she's going to speak very honestly," Dungey told the Banff World Media Festival on Monday during a keynote address.
"We're going to be tackling some of the topics that are in the conversation today. I'll leave it that," she added. Original castmembers Barr, John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman and Lecy Goranson will return 30 years after the original Roseanne comedy debuted, this time with new kids and grandchildren thrown into the mix.
"Now we will have three generations — Roseanne, her kids and her kids have kids who are teenagers. So we'll bring back a point of view that has really been missing on the air," Dungey said. By that, the ABC Entertainment boss is talking about a push by her network to deliver TV shows that speak to U.S. audiences as a whole, including those who elected Donald Trump president.
"Certainly, that's something in our development that we've been trying to look at more directly," Dungey said. Roseanne, a sitcom about a working-class family, was on air from 1988 to 1997 and will return to ABC for an eight-episode run.
Dungey said the Roseanne reboot is the right TV show for the Trump era. "Roseanne is an established show. It's an established family, it has an established character. Thirty years ago, Roseanne was speaking very openly about her life and her challenges. And it's a perfect time to have that voice back to talk about the realities now," she told Banff delegates.
Dungey said ABC as a broadcaster by nature tries to appeal to a broad audience, but that need has never been more acute than after the recent U.S. election. "What the election revealed was that there's parts of our country that didn't feel heard, that they didn't have a voice. When you look at how the polling data went in the run-up to the election, it was kind of a big surprise to many people that the election turned out as it did," she said.